PLACES TO GO


Thursday, August 28, 2003
 
LAMENT

So much for trying to rein in the gay content of this blog...

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DOUBTING JONES

"... I had to make out with another guy. Oh my. Wow. Okay, I canít lie. Making out with another guy is thrilling."


Pete Jones, of the first Project Greenlight, is writing an online journal for Film Threat detailing the production process of his new movie, "Doubting Riley". You might remember Pete complaining in the Stolen Summer days about how his filmmaking process was meticulously documented for all the world to see. He wasn't going to let that happen again. No, sir. That was damaging. That was horrible. That was intrusive.

So this time, he's writing a column that meticulously documents his filmmaking process for all the world to see.

It turns out this column is a great read. You might want to start with his first installment (the columns are written on a weekly basis while the film is in production). But so far, the most interesting one is his most recent.

The movie, according to the column, is about "a fun loving Irish Catholic guy who shocks his family by coming out." Pete is not only writing and directing, but he's playing the lead role of the gay guy himself. So it's funny when Pete, a married heterosexual man who has surely been mistaken for gay once or twice in his life, peppers his columns with quotes like the one above. Or the following:

"The idea for 'Doubting Riley' probably comes from my deep affection for the male body. Is that wrong?"


There are several possibilities here: a) Pete is an extremely open-minded heterosexual guy completely oblivious to how comments like this will be perceived; b) Pete is an extremely cunning heterosexual guy hoping to stir up interest in his film by casting an aura of ambiguity around his own sexuality; or c) Pete has written an autobiography.

As I've made it a policy to take people at their word about their sexuality (so what if they're lying -- it's none of my business anyway) and as I have no interest in outing anyone, and since I'm also extremely cynical, I'm going with option (b). It's more fun that way, too. That way, you can look at this as Pete's revenge. He's pissed off that Greenlight manipulated his image by taking selected snippets of his filmmaking experience out of context to make him look like an arrogant, bumbling stooge. So now he's purposely manipulating his image by providing selected snippets for the media to take out of context to make him look like a homosexual.

If he's shamelessly looking for publicity, you've gotta admire his gumption. And if he's just some kind of merry prankster, I'm sure he's having a good laugh that people like me are writing columns like this.

The man is a genius.

And if I'm wrong, then Lillian "Lill" is just a freak in a Boy Scout uniform.

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ARRRR! 'TIS A SCURVY CREW!

The new Survivors are coming! The new Survivors are coming!

Here are some of my first impressions:

Rupert: How scary-looking is this guy? Given the "pirate" theme of this season (note the tribe names: Drake and Morgan *eyeroll*), I think they wanted at least one guy who actually looks like a pirate. Let's all mesh our fingers together like Christy and say it in unison: "Creepy!" If anything should happen to Robbie Coltrane, I hear this guy's next in line for the Hagrid role.

Lillian "Lill": What can you say about a woman who poses for her picture in a Boy Scout uniform? Well, she knows how to get noticed by the casting department. I'll give her that. If the dorky pose was indeed a calculated move, Lill could be a genius at manipulation. But if she's really just some freak in a scout suit, she should probably "be prepared" for an early boot.

Ryan S.: You know I'm bound to root for anyone who lists "Nintendo Power" as a favorite magazine and #DDDDFF as his favorite color (I believe that's an HTML code). But to paraphrase the Simpsons, I'm not sure his wussiness will come in handy. Favorite alcohol? "Drinking is for the boring." Yes, he said that. Geez, even Lillian the Scout Freak is likely to think this kid's weird.

Jon: Jon said something on the Early Show about disliking old people and wanting to vote them off first and build a "young people's utopia". I'm not sure when I stopped saying things like that, but I'm pretty sure it was before I turned 29, Jon's current age. Jon better hope the other castaways don't think he's one of the old people. And he'd better keep that ugly skull cap on. I suspect he's balding underneath.

Michelle: She looked like the token Colleen/Elisabeth cute young pixie from what I saw on the Early Show. Drew is convinced she's somehow disabled. From our IM chat: "she supports the special olympics. who else does that but handicapped people?" Uh, I don't know, Drew? Nice people?

If I have to pick a winner at this point, I might go with Andrew, who looks like he could be a good father figure type for his ragtag tribe. But who knows. They all look kinda weird to me.

I can't wait.

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KWESTION

Okay, I have to learn how to do those polls that people like BittyBoo do on their blogs, because I've got a question for y'all.

Should I have one of those Krispy Kremes that somebody left in the office kitchen?

  • Yes! Krispy Kremes are Tastee Treetz!
  • Yes! And hurry before everyone takes them all! They're vultures here, I tell ya, vultures!
  • No! You already counseled Drew not to have a Hershey's kiss this morning, you dang hypocrite!
  • No! You don't know who left them there or why. They could be old and stale, or maybe they got dropped on the floor, or that guy who pees on the toilet seats put his grubby mitts all over them while trying to pick one out. Are you still an obsessive-compulsive or what?

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Wednesday, August 27, 2003
 
BOOK

This is one of those freaky things that happens sometimes.

I was surfing the web and read about this book called "Geography Club" by Brent Hartinger on some guy's blog. It sounded like a cute young adult book about gay teenagers. (The premise is that they decide to start a gay club at school, but in order not to be stigmatized, they call it the "Geography Club", figuring it'll sound so boring that no one else will want to join anyway.) So I went to Amazon.com, looked it up and then added it to my wish list.

Now, I can count on no hands the number of times Drew and I have discussed gay young adult literature (though if "gay young adult literature" becomes the new search phrase that leads people to this site, as opposed to "[you-know-what-sleazy billboard queen] for [you-know-which statewide office]", I would be pretty happy -- So let me say it again: Gay young adult literature! Gay young adult literature! Literature young adult gay!). But when I noticed in the Amazon sample pages that the author of one of Drew's favorite books ("The Year of Ice" by Brian Malloy) was quoted on the book jacket, I decided to IM Drew and see if he'd heard of the book.

... and he wrote back that he'd just ordered it half an hour ago. (Cue Twilight Zone music.) He read about it on Brian Malloy's website, which he hadn't visited in months. If we were two teenage girls, we would've shouted "Like, omigod!" about a million times in a row. Okay, so we kinda did that anyway. It was weird.

As long as this is a Big Gay Post, here's a good article by the African-American guy who got cut from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He's surprisingly not bitter, and pretty cool about the whole thing. But he does dish some good behind-the-scenes scoop, if you're interested.

Hmmm... maybe it's posts like this that have turned the automatic banner advertising on my site into the gayest place on the web. Has anyone noticed that those ads at the top of the page are suddenly all about gay radio stations and gay blog listings and inns in Vermont that perform Civil Unions? No, I don't choose those ads at the top of the page -- blogspot just assigns them.

Maybe they're trying to tell me something...

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Monday, August 25, 2003
 
JUST SOME STUFF THAT HAPPENED

This weekend, I finally used the gift card Drew got me for our six-month anniversary to buy some stuff at Bed Bath & Beyond. The idea was for me to fix up his spare bathroom, which is now kinda my bathroom, I guess, although it still feels weird to say that since I'm not officially living there and since I have to keep it clean because that's the bathroom guests use. If it were really my bathroom, there'd probably be dirty underwear all over the floor and mildew in the tub, so maybe it's good that, except for the spiffy matching tissue box, soap dish, etc., that bathroom remains shared turf.

On Saturday night, Drew took me to his favorite restaurant, Cynthia's. The food was great. If you go there and you're me (which you're not, but play along for a second), don't be scared by all the fish on the menu. You don't like fish. (You're me, remember.) The spicy fried chicken is fish-free and fantastic. The corn fritters are also terrific. Even the chicken and shrimp dumplings, which do contain seafood, are pretty good. Good for you, Jerry, you tried something new. You should be proud.

Okay, you're you again. And lucky for you, because this is the part where I had too much to drink (again). Yikes, that's becoming kind of a theme of this blog, isn't it? I swear, I hardly ever touch the stuff -- really! Drew made me drink three martinis at dinner, because, even more than the food, that seems to be what he loves about Cynthia's. (Drew knows a lot about alcohol. A LOT.)

Of course, I got pretty loopy. Luckily, we had walked there (we're smart, aren't we?), but that did mean a long, stumbly walk home, during which I drunk-dialed two friends. That's always fun. There's a tip from me to you. If you're drunk, call a friend who'd appreciate hearing you mumble and say outrageous things that make little or no sense. (Wasn't I hilarious, Janice?) Just keep in mind that your friend may be in a later time zone and already in bed. (Sorry, Dave.)

On Sunday morning, while out driving, Drew and I witnessed a beautiful sight on the corner of Venice and Fairfax. A young dad was out for a walk with his five-year-old daughter. They waited patiently for the light to change, and then, when they got the WALK signal, Dad lifted his little girl up on his shoulders to give her a lift across the street. It was enough to warm your heart.

And when he turned around, Drew and I saw the slogan printed in block letters on the back of Dad's t-shirt: "FUCK LOVE".

That afternoon, we went to lunch with Drew's friends and his goddaughter, Chloe, who it's safe to say is developing a distinct case of the Jerrys. After we ate, we went for a dip in the pool, during which time 4-year-old Chloe taught me how to make caramel lollipops, sprinkle cookies and other imagination foods using the pool filter as an oven. When we got out to dry off, Chloe was extremely insistent that she be allowed to watch me change out of my bathing suit. Props to Drew for successfully guarding the door to the bathroom while I put my shorts back on.

After that, it was home again for some writing, cleaning and setting up the new bathroom.

My new bathroom.

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I'M OUT TO PLEASE

The good news is that a new search phrase has finally overtaken "Angelyne for governor" as the #1 thing leading people toward this blog. The bad news for all you googlers: sorry, I don't know whether Efram Potelle is gay.

I did see Efram, however, along with his movie "The Battle of Shaker Heights", this Friday night at the Arclight. Maybe I should work in the Miramax marketing department, because I felt like the film needed more comedy. The funny stuff worked; the rest mostly didn't. The script felt watered-down and a little formulaic, but it was full of great, clever dialogue (but not too clever -- man, I hate "too clever"), and a truly original character in Kelly.

The movie had some other problems with its casting (the "bully" was actually the puniest-looking kid in the movie), its hairstyling (the school principal looked like a homeless woman), its soundtrack (hey, Kelly and his friend are having a serious fight -- what a good place for a bouncy pop song!) and its cameos (yes, we heard your voice in the battle scene, Efram. Congratulations, you're a movie star.)

But all in all, not a bad movie, and considering what everybody went through to get it made, they should probably all be commended.

After the screening, we were promised a Q&A with the writer and directors, which was probably the reason most of us in the audience were there. We weren't so much interested in the movie as in soaking up as much "Project Greenlight" as we could. When the lights came up, we all clapped, assuming the filmmakers were waiting in the wings, but then nothing happened.

Nothing.

We waited and waited. An entire minute went by. Then another. People started to whisper. "Did they take off?" "Was this a come-on?" "Was the movie that bad that even the filmmakers couldn't sit through it?" Some guy walked up to the front of the auditorium, and everyone got silent. But he was just another viewer returning to his front-row seat. Almost ten minutes went by, and people were starting to trickle out.

Finally, Kyle, Efram, Erica and Jeff Balis walked out. Whew. (I bitch only because we were never given an explanation or an apology for the delay, and I'm still grumpy about it. Hmph!)

The very first question was about whether Efram gave back the car. (He did, and he's tired of being asked that.) Kyle and Efram both complained that the show wasn't an accurate representation of what they're really like. Well, then neither are Q&A sessions apparently, because Kyle and Efram seemed pretty much the same as they were on TV. Erica was the one who didn't seem to get her due on the show, if only because we didn't see enough of her. In person, she was smart, charming, and extremely funny and quick-witted. (I was gushing so much about her that Drew got a little jealous.) Jeff Balis seemed uncomfortable and desperate for the evening to end, perking up only when a creepy stalkerish woman in the crowd said some creepy stalkerish things about how wonderful he was and giggled her way nervously through it, while admonishing her friends to like, you know, cut it out, you guys!

The filmmakers also dished out the horrifying information that Pete Jones, of Project Greenlight 1, is making another movie. Pat Peach and Pete Biagi are surprisingly on board again, completing the unholy trinity. And not only is Pete writing and directing this time, he's starring in it as well. (As a character named "Pete", no doubt.) Drew told me later that he already knew all about this because it was in the trades last week. Apparently, the story has something to do with Pete's character coming out of the closet to his conservative Midwestern family.

Sorry, googlers. No word on whether Pete himself is gay.

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Friday, August 22, 2003
 
THE STRUGGLE IS OVER!!!

"It was about showing the world that gay people can do anything that anyone else can do." -- Chip


Really, Chip? Is that what winning the Amazing Race was all about?

Well, then, what if you had lost? Would it have proven the opposite? Would viewers across the country be saying, "Well, that seals it. Gay people can't do everything other people can do. I know for sure because I saw it on a reality television show."

At 7:59pm last night, right before CBS aired the finale of Amazing Race 4, there was still a lot of homophobia in this world. Did you take care of that problem for us, Chip? Was the debate over gay marriage rendered moot when Phil Keoghan handed you and Reichen the million dollar prize check on this morning's Early Show? "I guess we were wrong," a chorus led by George W. Bush, Rick Santorum and Antonin Scalia will say. "We thought homosexuals couldn't marry the same way as straight people, but damn it if those two gay guys on TV didn't do that tandem skydive in Australia the same as all those straight teams. I guess that means they can do anything, including live in a state of legally-santioned matrimony. We sure look like fools, don't we?"

Tell me, Chip. When your team crossed the finish line first, was it a blow to heterosexuals worldwide, who would now be seen as inherently inferior to gays in terms of amazing racing?

And did you really prove anything that hadn't already been "proven" by countless other reality stars? Were there really people out there who hadn't already been swayed by Richard Hatch or Pedro Zamora or the token gay guy/couple on any previous reality show? Was the world still waiting for a gay victory in the Amazing Race to change their minds? "So what if that naked guy won Survivor?" people were saying. "Until I see some queers eating raw octopus, I won't accept them as equals."

Would the fact that I wouldn't have touched that octopus make me a bad representative for the gay community? If I had gone on the show and said, "Hell, no, I'm not going to strip to my underwear and dive into a frozen lake and swim under a sheet of ice, because I'm afraid I'll, like, die" would I have set the cause of gay rights back fifty years?

Was this our "I have a dream"? Our 19th Amendment? Are you our Rosa Parks?

Thanks to you, will the next gay victory on a reality show be a nonissue? Will it be a guy who, because of a trailblazer like you, can just accept his prize without patting himself on the back for the sea change in popular thinking that his victory will bring about? Will he just, you know, take the check and go home?

Well, if so, then thank you.

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Thursday, August 21, 2003
 
MONUMENTAL HYPOCRISY

The lawyers for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore made a really interesting and overlooked point amid this whole media circus about the removal of the Ten Commandments monument. They said Moore's intent was to "establish justice by acknowledging the guidance and favor of Almighty God, placed upon him by his oath of office and the Constitution of Alabama."

Until I read that, I, like many people, just wrote Moore off as another right-wing crackpot trying to turn America into a theocracy. But it turns out Moore has a really good point. He doesn't see his crusade to inject religion into the government as a mission from God. On the contrary, he's on a mission from the government itself.

In fact, in order to take office, Moore was required by the Alabama state constitution to take an oath before God. And that's just one example of God's omnipresence in our government. He's everywhere from official documents to state seals (like this one and this one) to our own currency. What do people expect when we force schoolkids to say God's name every day in the Pledge of Allegiance, when, in response to 9/11, the entire Senate rises to its feet for a rendition of "God Bless America", where the President ends every speech by requesting God's blessing? The Ten Commandments even appear in the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. Why not the Alabama Supreme Court, too?

I don't think Moore should have the right to display the Ten Commandments in his courthouse, but I can see why he thinks he does.

Removing a 5,300 pound stone monument in Alabama is a good start. But if the move to get religion out of the government ends there, then Roy Moore is the victim of monumental hypocrisy.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2003
 
OODILY OODILY OODILY FUN FUN FUN

The least funny joke at the open mike night last night was about ME.

At least, that's how I see it.

Okay, I wasn't in the best mood because my set didn't go so well. I decided about an hour before I went on to scrap half my material and kinda half-improv something I came up with just then. There were scattered laughs, but not enough to satisfy my fragile, wimpy ego. (It's awful. My inner voice berates me constantly with taunts of, "You've got to be #1, Jerry!" Someday I'll lash out and tape somebody's buns together.)

Anyway, I finish my disappointing set, return to my seat, humbled, ashamed and considering a career in accounting, and the emcee introduces the next guy, a goofy-looking stooge in a Rockets shirt. (I don't know what Rockets is -- some kind of sports team?) And as Rockets Guy takes the microphone from the emcee, he says he "sensed a weird Chuck and Buck thing when you handed the mike off to that last guy".

Yeah, that's what he said.

Now, in that sentence, the "last guy" he was referring to was clearly me. What wasn't as clear was whether I was supposed to be Chuck or Buck. Either way, I was not flattered. I really wasn't sure what the crack was supposed to mean, but it definitely wasn't a compliment. It's a movie about a disturbed, pasty freak who has a bizarre homoerotic obsession with his childhood friend, a self-involved Hollywood producer with really bad teeth.

Where's the love in that?

And more importantly, who was this creep standing up there insulting me?

Well, that's the fun part, because I know exactly who he was.

You see, my new least-favorite comedian once appeared on a TV show. It was never what you'd call a hit, though I guess it had a cult following, which formerly included me. (Yes, I once loved this show. Well, no more!) But that alone probably wouldn't have made me recognize him. In the five or so years since the show went off the air, Rockets Guy has lost a lot of weight and buffed himself up into a veiny WeHo gym boy type, shaved arms and all. (I know... yuck.)

The twist in our tale is that this short-lived show aired on none other than MTV, the network Drew works for. And Drew knows this guy. And a few weeks ago, when Drew and I were eating breakfast at Toast, we ran into this guy. And Drew introduced me to him.

Clearly, Rockets Guy does not recall this encounter.

But I do.

That's all I could think of as he so cavalierly insulted me from the stage. I thought back to that brief introduction at the restaurant, with the newfound knowledge that he wasn't quite as nice as he seemed that day. His polite act had clearly been nothing more than a big fake. "It's nice to meet you," he had said. Nice to meet me? Nice to meet me?!? Yeah, right. As he said those words, he was probably thinking, "You pasty Mike White-looking weirdo."

Oh, how I hated Rockets Guy at that moment.

I couldn't wait to get home and tell Drew about it. And I didn't wait! I called him on my celph as I drove off from the club. "How obnoxious," Drew said. "That's really wrong." He then assured me that I didn't look anything like Mike White. (Hmmm... that was odd. Why did he assume I was the Mike White one?)

When I got home, as soon as Drew saw me, he pointed out the shirt I was wearing. It was a yellow and blue striped short-sleeved rugby. "It looks like a Chuck and Buck shirt," he said. "He probably just meant your shirt."

Could it be? Was it possible that Rockets Guy was merely referring to my attire? Was the seemingly mean-spirited crack actually kind of harmless and good-natured?

Either way, I still hate him.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2003
 
ALMOST ALWAYS EIGHT

I made up a new game.

First, you should probably know about my old game, 6/Not 6. It's played with two people, one of whom, the PICKER, thinks up a number, and the other of whom, the GUESSER, tries to guess one thing about that number: is the number 6, or is it not 6?

Here's how a typical game might go.

GUESSER: Is your number not 6?
PICKER: Nope. It's 6.

Voila. The world's greatest game.

... until now!

I thought up 6/Not 6 during a previous trip to Vegas with my friend Greg, so it's fitting that another, even cooler game came to me in a dream during my Vegas trip this past weekend. In the dream, Greg and I were playing the game, and when I woke up, I remembered the title and fleshed out all the rules.

My new game is called Almost Always 8. It's slightly more complicated than 6/Not 6, so pay close attention. In this game, the picker picks a number between 1 and 20. But the number is... you guessed it... almost always 8! The game continues until the GUESSER either gets 10 in a row right, or guesses a non-8 number correctly. His or her "score" is the number of guesses it took to complete the round.

Here's a sample round:

GUESSER: 8?
PICKER: Yes.
GUESSER: 8?
PICKER: Yes.
GUESSER: 8?
PICKER: Yes.
GUESSER: 8?
PICKER: Yes.
GUESSER: 14?
PICKER: No, 8 again.
GUESSER: Shit! Uh... 8?
PICKER: Yes.
GUESSER: 11?
PICKER: No, 8.
GUESSER: 8?
PICKER: Yes.
GUESSER: 12?
PICKER: No, 14.
GUESSER: Dammit! ... 8?
PICKER: Yes.
GUESSER: 8?
PICKER: Yes.
GUESSER: 7?
PICKER: YOU GOT IT!!!

There are endless variations on these games. You can play with imaginary numbers, like Square Root of Negative 12/Not Square Root of Negative 12, or with state capitals, like Almost Always Montpelier... have fun!

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WHAT ELSE, JERRY, WHAT ELSE?

Here's some other stuff that happened this weekend while I was in Vegas:

  • I played poker in a casino for the first time. It was terrifying at first, doing stupid newbie things like not realizing it was my turn to bet and saying, "How much do I need to put in?" and "Am I supposed to turn my cards over now?" and wondering whether my flush beat another guy's straight. (I wisely chose to keep my confusion on that point to myself and was was quite happy when the dealer finally pushed the big pile of chips my way.) But by the end, I was winning some big hands and getting cocky about it, rolling my eyes at the newbies doing stupid things, like the guy in the sunglasses who was trying to bluff a guy who clearly had four kings. I mean, really, how stupid can you get?
  • I played poker again, four hours later, in the same casino, and some of the same people were still at the table playing. It made me a little sad. They were a little drunker now, but surprisingly they played better and raised more, and I lost a bundle the second time around. My proudest moment: winning an $8 pot by bluffing everyone else out of the running. My saddest moment: losing a $60-ish pot to a guy who was bluffing (he had jack squat but scared me into bowing out with three aces -- okay, I stink).
  • Back in LA, Drew went out drinking with some guy named Joel who was visiting from out of town. Drew proceeded to get more wasted with Joel than he has since I've known him, danced at Rage, which he hasn't done since I've known him, and called me at 1:48AM as he was stumbling home. He text messaged me a few hours later to say that he didn't remember making that call or getting home. It turns out Joel dropped him off a few blocks away from his apartment and made him walk the rest of the way home, something Drew was clearly in no condition to do. I've never met Joel, but Drew assures me he's a swell guy. Riiiiiight. Message to Joel: I am no fan of yours, Sir. FEAR ME.
  • I went swimming in a pool for the first time in about ten years. It was fun.
  • Eric's fiancee and her female friends went to see "The Thunder From Down Under", a Chippendales-type show with Australian hunks stripping and dancing and pouring water on themselves for shrieking horny women. I didn't tell anyone that I had already seen this show. (Janice dragged me there. It was mortifying.) When I overheard the girls describing a trick one of the guys pulled with an audience member's beer bottle, I had to stop myself from saying, "Oh, yeah, he does that every night."
  • Drew tried to surprise me by doing my laundry for me. He tossed a new, bright red $5 t-shirt in with my whites (which I've warned him not to do) and turned everything a dull shade of pink, destroying the entire load. He then went on a shopping spree trying to replace everything, and even called a bunch of J.Crew stores looking for any that still stocked my favorite shirt, to no avail.
  • There was a huge thunderstorm in Vegas and when we left the restaurant where we ate dinner, it was pouring rain.
  • Drew saw Freddy vs. Jason with Gregg and spotted Efram Potelle from Project Greenlight in the audience.
  • Somebody told Julie that the guys went to Cheetah's (which I guess was supposed to be a secret) on Saturday night. Others suspect the squealer was Shoulderbag Guy, but I'll bet it was Closeted Homosexual Married Guy.
  • Drew found my favorite ice cream flavor, Kodiak Island Fudge, which was discontinued by Ralph's a few months ago, now being sold as a Pavillion's brand. He bought two half gallons. It made up for the laundry.

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Monday, August 18, 2003
 
BIG LOSERS

Well, there was a big loser in Vegas this weekend, and it was the Tropicana Hotel and Casino. I'm sorry, Tropicana, are you short some money today? Did I take something away from you that you hold very dear? Were the banks at the swim-up blackjack tables short about, oh, two hundred dollars? Well, I hope you survive. I hope nobody gets laid off because of this. I hope you don't have to cut the quality of your services in the guest rooms further still. If you're looking for that two hundred dollars, I know exactly where you can find it...

Just go to the poker room at the Excalibur. That's where I lost most of it. There's also some at the Casino War tables at MGM Grand. And a few bucks scattered at slot machines around town.

Yeah, gambling-wise, I pretty much broke even this weekend. But gambling wasn't the real point of this trip. This was about a bachelor party.

Eric and his fiancee Julie were both in Vegas this weekend for their pre-wedding debauchery, but while Julie and her friends headed to the Thunder from Down Under for their bachelorette festivities, the guys were in disarray.

The guys were Eric, me, our mutual friend Michael, and Eric's three married Christian friends, who, because I'm bad with remembering names, I'll refer to as Brad Garret Guy, Shoulderbag Guy and Closet Homosexual Married Guy. (I call 'em as I see 'em, my friends.) We started off the night with some poker. Eric's always seemed more interested in gambling than in girls, so by the time he was ready to leave the casino, it was after 1AM. As for what to do next, it was clear Eric wanted to do something a bit naughty, the kind of thing one might typically associate with a bachelor party, but that the three Christians were, to put it gently, terrified of seeing boobies. Michael and I just wanted to do what was going to make Eric happy.

But we wanted to do it soon.

Brad Garrett Guy decided to turn in for the night, and the rest of us headed for the taxi line, a clear indication (I thought) that the evening was about to take a more decadent turn. So Michael headed for the ATM and I made one last trip to the bathroom (fearing what the strip club restroom might hold in store) before we left. That left Eric alone with the Christians.

Big mistake.

When Michael and I got back, Closeted Homosexual Married Guy had talked Eric into checking out something he referred to as "the IMAX rides" at the Luxor. I didn't know exactly what the IMAX rides were, but I was sure that they didn't involve anything gyrating in your lap or calling you "Big Guy" and telling you how sexy you were. In other words, they were very different rides than the ones given at Cheetah's, the only strip club in Vegas we knew of. Given that Closeted Homosexual Married Guy was also the guy who, earlier in the evening, had talked about naming his kids after the characters from "Lord of the Rings", I was extremely reluctant to hand control of the evening over to him.

"I don't think the IMAX rides are open," I said. It seemed reasonable. It was almost 1:30 at this point. Aren't rides something, you know, kids do? And aren't kids usually in bed at this hour? And Christians, too? I thought they went to bed earlier than this. I mean, really, isn't anyone who wants to go on the IMAX rides usually in bed by midnight?

Eric pulled me and Michael aside and said he still wanted to go to a strip club, but that before we did, he wanted to do something to include the Christians, who wouldn't be joining us at Cheetah's. I was a bit confused as to what Eric thought we'd been doing for the 6 and a half hours we'd already spent with the Christians -- and just what time he was expecting to shift over to the adult portion of the evening. I mean, I had a bedtime, too.

So we went to Krispy Kreme. We sat and ate donuts. We talked about what to do next, what else might still be open. I was getting impatient. "Besides Cheetah's, you mean?"

After our snack, we went to the New York-New York game room. Closeted Homosexual Married Guy had heard there were virtual reality games there, so he was excited when we arrived. It was a few minutes before 2AM. The game room, we then found out, closed at 2AM. We didn't even have time to make change. A few minutes later, we were back at square one.

"What do you want to do?" Shoulderbag Guy asked Eric. "This is your bachelor party." Finally, I felt, he was starting to get it. But Eric didn't take a stand. I think he was embarrassed to admit to his religious friends that he was hoping to spend his bachelor party looking at naked women.

"You should do something a little crazy," Shoulderbag Guy continued. I liked where this was heading. "Something you wouldn't normally do." Good... good... "But it doesn't have to be something immoral."

Ugh.

Finally, Michael and I stepped in and told Eric it was starting to get late. It was clear what needed to be done. Eric decided that it was probably time to head to Cheetah's. Closeted Homosexual Married Guy announced he was going to turn in for the evening.

"Is this what you want to do?" Shoulderbag Guy asked. Eric said that indeed, it was. "Then let's go."

And to my amazement, Shoulderbag Guy came with us to the strip club.

I think I'm bound by some Straight Guy Honor Code from revealing what happened after we got there, but I will say this: I think everyone got what they wanted out of the evening. And we all got to bed by 4:30.

  |


 
WHO PEED ON MR. T?

Somebody's been peeing on the toilet seat at work.

It chills me to even write those words. Admittedly, I have issues with public bathrooms. They're unpleasant places. Public bathrooms are places where you're likely to run into people you know doing things you'd never want to see, hear or smell them do. Thanks to the wonders of urinal no-peek shields and stall doors, we're generally protected from seeing things we'd rather not see. But as for hearing and smelling, well, it's best not to dwell on that. All we can do is be grateful that those sounds and aromas remain, largely, in the bathroom.

But I think there's an unspoken pact among all of us that, given the perils of public restrooms, we all try to keep them as sanitary as possible -- especially ones where we work, which we all use repeatedly throughout the day. You'd think this would be one of those obvious universal truths. Pee on the seat at a rest stop or the Olive Garden and you're just grossing out strangers. I don't approve of that, but I understand the mentality. But the seat at the office is the same seat YOU'RE going to have to sit on at some point. Who could possibly fail to do the math on that one?

The fact remains: somebody at my office is seat-peeing. Regularly. This happens every time I go to the bathroom. Every. Single. Time. Somebody not only refuses to lift up the seat but has VERY BAD AIM.

Okay, so given my freakish obsessiveness about bathrooms and bathroom etiquette, I'll say my discomfort with the plague of seat urine is partially my own private issue. I'll say my neurosis accounts for... hmmm... three percent of the problem. The other 97% of this issue is that whoever's peeing on the seat is a lazy, vile, unsanitary pig who should be shot, carved up, and fed to goats, whose feces can be burned to generate power for a neon sign that says "If you pee on the seat, you'll soon be dead meat!" In the time it took me to write that last sentence, a person could've lifted up a toilet seat about 100 times.

This is the crux of my argument. It's not hard to lift up a toilet seat. If you don't want to touch it, pick it up with your foot. That's what I do. (I know. I'm a freak. I also flush with my foot.) Of course, if whoever's peeing on the seat is doing so because they're afraid that lifting the seat would be UNSANITARY, their hypocrisy alone should make their seat-spraying a capital offense. And, oh, here's another idea, USE THE FREAKING URINAL!

This has been going on for far too long. I'm now determined to find out who's responsible. I don't know what I'll do with the information when I have it, but please understand: I need to know.

After my failed attempt to find out who clogged the toilet, you'd think maybe I'd be apprehensive about embarking on another seemingly quixotic bathroom quest. But given the recurring nature of this problem, I think a little detective work can help me crack this case.

It's simple process of elimination. First of all, I think the women in my office can be safely removed from suspicion. That leaves the 26 men who work here. Donn is out sick today, and David and my boss are both out of town. (There's one good thing you can say about my boss. He's not a seat pee-er.)

I'm also going to assume that pee doesn't stay on a toilet seat for very long. People need to use toilets. And I have to believe, if there's any decency in this world, that everyone out there is wiping up splashed seats before sitting down. Regardless, one way or another, the seat pee is absorbed by the time the next person uses the facilities. So the fact that I saw Patrick entering the bathroom this morning as I was on my way out probably clears him from suspicion as well, unless he pees extremely often, in which case he should buy that medicine that makes the crossing guard sing "I don't have to go right now" in the commercial.

Also eliminating myself, that leaves 21 suspects.

I'm keeping a suspect sheet in my desk, and I'm crossing off names one at a time.

It may take weeks, or even months. But there's a bad, bad man out there, and one way or another, I'm going to flush him out.

  |


Thursday, August 14, 2003
 
PIE, JERRY, PIE

How come nobody told me that Ralph Nader got hit in the face with a pie?

And they say this recall isn't a circus?

  |


Wednesday, August 13, 2003
 
HELP WANTED

Here comes another post where I bitch about my job. (Sorry.)

Yesterday, I performed my first notarization. It was a requirement of my job that I become a notary, which meant that I had to attend an excruciating all-day seminar, pass a test, fill out a bunch of forms, get fingerprinted and perform a series of minor hassles before I'd be given my official seal from the State of California.

Even though everyone else in the firm is a notary, it was imperative that I become one, because nobody wants to perform notarizations for my boss. All the assistants here hate him and refuse to put up with him and his unreasonable demands. Notarizing a document is not to be taken lightly, as I learned in my seminar. If you screw it up, you can get sued for everything you own. Since just about everything you notarize is headed for the office of a lawyer and since lawyers make their living by suing people, this is not a risk to be overlooked.

My first notarization turned out to be entirely typical of my boss. He told me to get my notary junk, then called his loan agent (of course, this was a personal document and not at all business related) and told them to send a rush messenger, as the package would be ready "in five minutes". He then tossed me a form signed by him and his wife and ran off to a meeting.

I looked at the form he had given me, and it was totally blank. It's pretty obvious to anyone that you can't notarize something that hasn't been filled out (nor should you sign it in the first place), but my boss expects special treatment, completely oblivious or insensitive to the fact that the one who's going to suffer for this, should anything go wrong, is me.

I checked with some of the more seasoned notaries in my office, all of whom insisted I not notarize the form (and one of whom even called the National Notary Association to back her up). Luckily, I had the phone number of his loan agent, and we were able to call up and get the information, fill the form out ourselves and send it off in time for the messenger. My boss got out of his meeting, and everything had been taken care of, just like he wanted.

The one thing that made all of it tolerable was knowing that he'd be leaving today for a seminar in San Diego that would keep him out of town and out of my hair for the rest of the week.

This was a trip he'd planned months ago. (Guess who made all the arrangements.) Since it was being held in a swanky hotel, he decided to make a mini-vacation out of it, bring his wife and kid along, and have the firm pick up the tab. It took some smooth-talking, but after lots of work, he got them to agree to it.

Then this morning he spontaneously decided that he didn't want to go. He told his wife and kid to unpack and told me to cancel all the reservations, lie and say he was sick and demand that, due to his "illness", he not be charged a penalty for cancelling without notice.

This has not been easy to accomplish. I've left several messages at the hotel, but nobody will call me back, probably because I sound like a raving lunatic conveying his demands to them, while muttering under my breath, "I'm sorry, I'm terribly sorry." I've also called the company that booked the reservation and they've been no help either. As it becomes more and more obvious to my boss that he's not going to be able to get out of this on his (ahem) charm, he's getting more and more upset and demanding that I make angrier and angrier calls to the hotel on his behalf.

It's been fun.

I hate lying about being sick (as I did last Friday when I took off to help Drew recover from getting his wisdom teeth out), but what I hate even more is lying on someone else's behalf. At my previous job, when I worked for an entertainment attorney, one of the clients was a well-known film director. This washed-up hack, if I may be so generous, was also a major pain in the ass (let's just say his name rhymes with "Kobe"). He'd shot some cheap cable or straight-to-video-type film that he was now trying to distance himself from. He was desperately trying to get out of performing some post-production work he was contractually obligated to perform, and my boss informed him that he'd have to suck it up and abide by the contract. So this director had me, the assistant -- and not even his assistant, mind you -- call the company and say he wasn't available to come in because there'd been a death in his family.

Not 100% sure that he was lying, I made the call, and the woman I spoke to poured forth a stream of heartfelt sympathy. "Oh, I'm so sorry! Tell him our thoughts and prayers are with him!", etc. Fearing I'd been used, I felt sick.

I later found out that several weeks earlier, the director's dog had died. I'm glad Fluffy's death provided him a convenient alibi so he didn't have to feel like he was lying, but involving me in his deception was apparently a moral nonissue for him. I would've vowed never to see one of his films again... if only anyone were still hiring him to direct anything. And yeah, I believe those rumors that [his biggest film] was secretly directed by [a huge A-list superstar director] and not him at all. Loser.

Well, I'm sure glad I got out of that job.

  |


 
FUN, FUN, FUN

There's just too much on my plate right now.

Between the Vincent Gallo/Roger Ebert feud and the California recall, there was already so much for me to read, think and write about. Now Fox News is suing Al Franken?

Can my life get any better?

It's hard to tell what Fox News' primary agenda is: compromising its integrity as a news organization, opening itself to ridicule or promoting Franken's book (now #1 on Amazon.com).

But it sure is fun.

Fun is important to me. I think fun is important to everyone.

Just look at the appeal of Arnold Schwarzenegger for Governor. It's not that people agree with or even know much about his politics. It's not that he's yet another political outsider vowing to clean up the system (ho-hum). It's not that people love his movies. It's just that Governor Schwarzenegger would be a real blast.

Already, the commentators and columnists and talk show monologue writers are having the time of their lives. As soon as Arnie announced his candidacy, you could practically hear the media wonks plumbing IMDB for headline puns. Now it's a "Total Recall". He's "The Running Man". It's the "End of Grays". He's "The Governator". He'll "Jingle All the Way to Sacramento".

If there's one thing Gray Davis is not -- and, okay, there are a lot of things he's not -- it's fun. And I think people are tired of boring leaders. Governor Schwarzenegger would make headlines every day, with every witty thing his speech writers wrote for him, with every completely non-political public event he attended, where he and Maria would wave to the cameras as the latest It Couple. He'd pass some silly laws that would get him lots of attention and give people even more to write about.

Look how much fun Jesse Ventura was. And I don't give a crap about Minnesota.

Politics has always been a popularity contest. The catch was that none of the choices were very popular to start with. That's why politicians spend millions of dollars trying to make themselves popular. Arnold comes with prepackaged popularity. He doesn't have to beg the media for airtime, let alone pay for it. Freed of the burden to manufacture an image, he can afford to focus on the thing good politicians can do without trying: amusing the public.

The most successful politicians are the ones who manage to become celebrities, who transcend the inherent boringness of holding political office. Bill Clinton is a prime example. Two and a half years after he left office, he and his family are still as much tabloid fodder as Ben and J-Lo. (Am I punctuating her nickname properly?) Most people you ask can't name a single policy initiative Clinton spearheaded -- which is not to say he didn't govern well. It's just that that's not what gets the news coverage. Most people also can't name a single Clinton cabinet member. But everyone knows Monica Lewinsky.

Bill Clinton is well-liked not for his politics but because he entertained us briefly.

Al Gore was a lot like Clinton and agreed with him on most of the major substantive issues. But Gore was no fun. George W. Bush is fun. He's a moron. He says stupid things that get quoted and passed around in emails. He passes scary laws that frighten us and undermine our Constitution. He starts wars.

Okay, it's a little different when it's the president since, you know, a President actually has power. But what power does the governor of California have? Gray Davis has been in office for five years and hasn't done anything. Schwarzenegger couldn't do much worse, and he's a guaranteed good time. It's win-win.

The practical, concerned citizen in me definitely wants Gray Davis to beat back the recall and finish out his term. But the writer and media junkie in me can't help thinking about how much fun it'd be to turn on the TV on October 8 and see Arnie standing in Sacramento, with one hand on a Bible, turning to the cameras and saying, "Hasta la Vista, Gray!"

  |


Monday, August 11, 2003
 
FOLLOWUP

It turns out Jayson Blair's not going to review the upcoming Stephen Glass movie after all.

Maybe they can get Vincent Gallo to do it.

  |


 
PROOF THAT VINCENT GALLO CAUSES CANCER

Most filmmakers spend months and even years trying to make their scripts good before filming them. But if you're not concerned with the quality of your movies, apparently, you have lots of free time to give people diseases.

There are few movies in my lifetime I've hated as much as Buffalo 66, and now everyone's saying that was the good Vincent Gallo movie. What a shame. He may never recapture that magic again.

So just for kicks, he's having a feud with Roger Ebert. I'm not a big fan of Ebert's lately, either -- you know, since he started giving thumbs-up to every piece of crap that gets released and since, of all the film critics in the world, he decided he respected the critical acumen of Richard Roeper above all others. So normally, I'd be in full favor of some petty repartee between these two, except for a few factors which make this an extremely sad and uncomfortable affair:

  1. Gallo is clearly outmatched in the intellect department
  2. Ebert is clearly outmatched in the crazy department
  3. Every article about their feud is only two links away -- max -- from a reminder that, in the final scene of Gallo's universally-reviled movie "Brown Bunny", Chloe Sevigny performs fellatio on him
  4. Neither making a bad movie nor being a bad critic, annoying as both may be, is a crime...

    and, oh yeah...

  5. Ebert has cancer

I wish a speedy recovery to them both.

  |


 
DREWZIE

I never lose a bet.

When Other Drew said he had a blog, I wanted to read it. When he said it was a Hidden Mystery Blog of Secrets Jerry Shall Never Know, I had to read it. When he said I would never find it, I had to bring him down.

And I did.

We decided to bet on it. Drew (not to be confused with Other Drew) and I would have five business days to find Other Drew's invisiblog. The loser would cough up two Magic Mountain tickets.

And then I made this stipulation: if after the allotted period of time, Drew and I were unable to find the Sacred Blog of Wonders, this would-be Dead Sea Blog, then Other Drew would have to tell us its location, in order to prove that it did, in fact, exist, and that he wasn't playing us for a couple of chumps who were dishing out free rides on Southern California's most extreme roller coasters.

Knowing that any finger-typing goo-head can stumble across my silly blog with a simple Google search (which, in fact, has made Why Jerry Why the World Wide Web's primary resource for depantsing and Angelyne for Governor information), Drew and I went to work Yahooing and Altavista-ing and Dogpiling every permutation of the words "Drew", "blog", "Other Drew", "Tom Lenk" and "I'm worried about my script" but came up, sadly, emptyhanded.

Somehow Other Drew's blog remained a mystery to the search engines, as well as to Drew and myself. So when time ran out, we gave in. And we got the following:

www.drewzie.blogspot.com

Oh, I'm sorry, Other Drew, did you not want me to print your URL on my site? How inconsiderate of me.

Have I exposed your private journal for all the world to see? I'm terribly sorry.

Will the legions of Angelyne fans and depantsing aficionados who read Why Jerry Why now find their way to your blog, where they can read all your most personal thoughts, as well as your completely unauthorized reprinting of our email exchanges about the Drewzie blog, which is located at www.drewzie.blogspot.com? Did I just reveal the URL again? Oops. I really should stop telling people to visit your website at www.drewzie.blogspot.com.

And I should definitely remove that link I added to my Blogroll.

Cost of two Magic Mountain tickets (with Magic Mountain's buy-one-get-one-free tie-in offer with Coke): about $40
Drewzie: Priceless

I repeat:

I NEVER LOSE A BET.

  |


Thursday, August 07, 2003
 
NOW I KNOW THE TRUTH...

Now that I've installed a site tracker on this blog, I can see how people are finding my site, and the results have been MOST interesting. Here are the google and AOL searches that have led people to Why Jerry Why in the last two days, exactly as they were typed in:

Well, I try to give the people what they want.

  |


Wednesday, August 06, 2003
 
"SICK"

You'll notice the title of this entry is in quotes. That's because I'm not really sick. But don't tell my boss, because I'm going to be calling in sick on Friday. I hate lying -- and I happen to be the world's worst liar. But Drew's getting his wisdom teeth out on Friday, so I'm taking the day off to drag his drugged-up ass home when he's done and take care of him all day.

Maybe if my company wasn't so asshole-ish about people taking days off, I could just tell them the truth and let them prepare for my absence a couple of days in advance by hiring a temp. But I don't feel like begging for time off, so it looks like I'm going to have to wake up Friday morning, hold a dishrag over the phone to make myself sound groggy and then make with the lies.

If I'm feeling really bold, I may lay the groundwork for my "sick" day Thursday afternoon and complain that "I might be coming down with something". (Cough, cough.)

Let this be a lesson to you: don't be asshole-ish. It's harder to get temps at the last minute.

Other random stuff:

Looks like Loretta Sanchez may be taking my advice. I can't take all the credit, though I did email her yesterday through her official website to recommend a run. (By the way, I have no idea why that post is showing up three times on this page -- I'm not that big a Sanchez supporter.)

Hooray for Janice! She got a job! It honestly couldn't have happened to a more debt-ridden person. If you're a seventh-grade language arts student in the Austin area, take Ms. Bech's class!

I overheard my boss talking to one of the other attorneys here about the gay Episcopal bishop. He was surprisingly liberal-minded on the matter and expressed his support of the guy's confirmation. Then he quickly changed the subject to Kobe Bryant.

By the way, my boss is OBSESSED with the Kobe Bryant case and with taking potshots at his accuser's credibility. He's been telling anyone who'll listen about her alleged suicide attempt and how she allegedly went to a party after the alleged rape and bragged to allegedly everyone that she knocked boots with an NBA star. Then he says, "You wanna see what she looks like?" and directs them to a website someone forwarded him with the girl's pictures on it. Ha! Take that, rape shield laws!

And Mark, I hope if you ever get raped by an NBA star, the world shows a little more respsect for your privacy.

  |


Tuesday, August 05, 2003
 
WOO-HOO! BACHELOR PARTY!

In a week and a half, I'm heading to Vegas for a bachelor party.

This is going to be weird.

I can't quite predict exactly in what ways it will be weird, but this will not be a typical trip to Vegas, nor a typical bachelor party.

Let me first give you some details on Eric, the groom:

  • Eric is a devout Christian.
  • Eric doesn't drink.
  • Eric has a pet snake.
  • Eric is the most competitive person I know.
  • Eric proposed to his fiancee via a short film he put together, and he rented out a movie theater to screen it for her.
  • Eric says "Jiminy Christmas!" in almost every conversation.
  • Eric is a really nice guy.

Eric can also hold a grudge. When my friend Dave fooled a group of us into thinking he was a feral ape-man while we were camping in Joshua Tree (long story), we all vowed revenge. But Eric was the only one to actually get revenge -- about five years later -- by using his connections with the police department (Eric was my boss when I wrote for World's Wildest Police Videos). Eric had a cop track Dave down and handcuff him, giving some cockamamie story about Dave's car being used in a drive-by shooting of Richard Riordan's son. (I helped concoct that cockamamie story. I'm so proud.)

That also happened in Vegas.

Ordinarily, a bachelor party might not scare me so much. Hey, I'm a liberal gay man. The idea of men ogling naked women doesn't gross me out. I'm hip. In fact, the last Vegas bachelor party I went to was even kinda fun. I got drunk, I watched my friends act horny (which my friends don't often do), I chipped in for the bachelor's lap dance, then I went back to the hotel and gambled some more.

But I suspect this bachelor party will be a little different. For one thing, Eric's having a joint bachelor party with his fiancee. The guys and the girls are going to split up on Saturday night to do their own things, but whatever happens, Eric's going to have to answer for when he gets back to his hotel room later that night.

Plus, Eric's a devout Christian, Eric doesn't drink... (see above)

I talked to Eric this morning, and he told me that the RSVP list is shorter than expected. (It's hard to recruit people to go to a party in another state, as I learned when I had my 30th birthday party in Vegas.) The girls look to have a good group, but as of now, there are only seven men planning on going. And most of them are people I haven't met before. As it's shaping up, it looks like it'll be me and Drew (two gay men -- always the life of a bachelor party), plus Eric, my friend Michael and three of Eric's married friends from church.

Woo-hoo! Let the bachelor party begin!!!!

Drew hardly knows Eric and is not overly thrilled about going to strip clubs with straight men (though he's being a trouper about it all). I promised him that if things got too buck wild, we could bow out of Cheetah's a little early. (Having been to Cheetah's for the last bachelor party, I can almost guarantee that things will get buck wild.)

But now I'm worried. It's easy to leave when the group is big, but in a group of only seven people, even the absence of two bored gay men could be a blow to the party. If a man looks around a strip club in the middle of his bachelor party and asks, "Aw, did the gay guys leave?", it is a sad night indeed.

So maybe this won't be so easy. I can't trust the Christians to orchestrate a wild night. And I want to make sure that Eric has some adventures he can't share with his fiancee. So I might have to get my hands a little dirty.

I'm in way over my head.

  |


 
SANCHEZ FOR GOVERNOR!!!!

There was a great op-ed piece from Loretta Sanchez in today's LA Times. (Forgive me if I'm overlinking the LA Times. I read it on my lunch break every day.) Sanchez called for Diane Feinstein to enter the race for governor.

Sure, that'd be great. Feinstein is smart, well-liked and, in the event the recall goes through, would almost definitely win the ballot to replace Gray Davis. But she's got a pretty sweet job already -- why jeopardize that by stepping into Davis' mess in Sacramento and making herself the target of nutjobs like Darrell Issa? (Have I mentioned I really, really, really, really, really don't like Darrel Issa? Really.)

Which got me to thinking... isn't there another smart, well-liked California Democrat who's maybe a little earlier in her political career and who may be ready to make the leap to statewide office?

Hmmm... I can think of someone...

  |


Monday, August 04, 2003
 
THE ONE ABOUT ALL OF JERRY'S PRECONCEPTIONS BEING SHOT DOWN (A/K/A THE ONE WHERE I COPY THE "FRIENDS" EPISODE TITLE FORMAT FOR NO GOOD REASON)

There are a lot of things I don't like, and one of the things I especially don't like is downtown LA. It's far away, nobody I know lives there, and pretty much the only times I've been there have been to see AWFUL theater at the Mark Taper Forum and to do jury duty. Soon it'll be home to that ugly Disney Hall building, too. (Another thing I really don't like is Frank Gehry. All his buildings look like they've been stepped on. Maybe the idea is to thwart terrorism by tricking would-be bombers into believing Gehry's buildings have already been destroyed. Just a thought...)

This weekend was my six-month anniversary with Drew. Ordinarily, I might think it silly to celebrate such a half-milestone, but Drew being one of those rare things I like, for some reason it seemed right. Drew's always extoling the virtues of downtown, so he took me to a restaurant called Ciudad on Figueroa. It was funky-looking, like what a restaurant in a movie set in the future looks like, and the food was South American. Both of these things intimidate Jerry, but I was willing to give it a shot.

While we were waiting, we saw Allyce Beasley (a/k/a Miss DiPesto from Moonlighting) walk in. Ordinarily, I might think it rude to approach a celebrity, but Drew didn't hesitate. "Miss Beasley, I'm sorry to bother you, but I'm a big fan!" he cooed. (Maybe he didn't coo, but I'm baiting Drew for a comment here, so let's say he cooed.)

I stopped talking to celebrities after my family and I saw Bruce Springsteen in a restaurant in New Jersey when I was a teenager. It was the most exciting thing ever -- it was right at the height of popularity of Born in the USA, and this was New Jersey, which if you listen to any Springsteen, is full of downtrodden blue collar workers and shitty carnivals -- NOT celebrities. Seeing a celebrity is a rare thrill in the Garden State, so my sister and I went up and asked for autographs. I didn't really want an autograph (I've never understood the value of having somebody's signature unless you want to forge it -- and don't worry, Bruce, I didn't), but it was the only pretext to initiate a conversation that seemed remotely acceptable at the time.

Bruce was very cordial and friendly (and I would hope he would be -- we were kids), but his dinner guests seemed annoyed at the interruption. They gazed at Bruce as if he were being far too kind by indulging these rude children. I walked off with a good story to tell my friends, an autograph that got tossed in with some junk at the bottom of my closet and a slightly icky feeling. I resolved never to talk to a celebrity again in any such random encounter.

But Drew, who talks to celebrities a lot more than I do due to his job, and therefore isn't frightened and awed by them as all decent people should be, had no problem speaking to Miss DiPesto. Thankfully, she was extremely nice and grateful for the recognition. She shook both our hands and even introduced us to her husband. She said we made her night, which made me feel good.

The next fear to be conquered was the menu. I'm the world's pickiest eater, but I've resolved to be bolder lately, and Ciudad proved to be the perfect opportunity to test out my resolution. Only one menu item contained the word "chicken" and one of the few beef items also contained the word "stuffed", which is a no-no to this boy's stomach. But I found a suitable steak dish, and I tried all three of the appetizers Drew picked out. (It helped that none of them contained cheese, which is my kryptonite.) I even tried the dipping sauces. And I liked everything I had.

Downtown at night has kind of a crazy-sexy-cool atmosphere (RIP Left Eye). Except for pockets of activity, like the restaurant we were in, it's almost entirely deserted. Most of the restaurants are closed, and the roads which were designed extra-wide to hold huge swells of traffic have hardly a single car on them. We sat on the patio, and I have to admit that as the sun went down, the skyline looked really beautiful.

So, I'll admit it. I like downtown. I like South American food. I may occasionally talk to celebrities when they look nice and friendly and I think they'd enjoy the kind words.

But I still hate Frank Gehry.

  |


Friday, August 01, 2003
 
I'D LIKE TO ANNOUNCE MY CANDIDACY

Gray Davis worked his whole life to become Governor of California. If you hurry, you can get there on October 7.

It turns out that all it takes to throw your hat in the ring is $3,500 and 65 signatures from registered voters. And that means this race is going to be even more of a freak show than we thought. According to today's LA Times), over 200 people have already filed papers to join the race.

Because electronic voting won't be ready in time for this hastily-arranged election, the LA Times is guessing that we might need two punch cards to represent all the candidates. (Each punch card can accomodate only 300 names.) Two punch cards?! I think the LA Times is sincerely underestimating people's willingness to waste $3,500. Can you imagine how many people would be willing to pay that much for a chance to say "I ran for Governor of California"? What a way to beef up your resume. I can already imagine a bunch of guys in bars drunkenly warbling, "Hey, let's get Jimmy on the ballot! Everyone toss in ten bucks!" I have a feeling we're going to need a wheelbarrow to get our punchcards into the voting booth on October 7.

What sucks is that if the voters vote against the recall, all those ballots for replacement candidates won't even be counted, so we'll never know which of the freaks -- Larry Flynt, Angelyne, Darrell Issa -- would've won. (For a good laugh, check out the LA Times's analysis of Darrell Issa's record from earlier in the week.)

One of the more legitimate candidates in the race is the creator of "Bat Boy: The Musical", who, if elected, vows to step aside so that Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante would ascend to the governorship.

Yeah, great plan, except isn't Bustamante the one who drew up the rules for this nutty election in the first place? He's made the whole election such a farce that he's virtually assured that voters will keep Gray Davis just to put an end to it all.

Then again, maybe Bustamante is the smartest man in politics.

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WINNER

Who's savvier about pop culture than me? Think twice before you give some smart-alecky answer, because my prediction about Queer Eye being on the cover of Entertainment Weekly has apparently come true. Yes, from what I hear, the Fab Five will be hitting your newsstands and mailboxes starting today.

I'm fabulous.

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